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The Great Gatsby - Planet eBook

The Great Gatsby - Planet eBook


Gatsby drank so little. Sometimes in the course of gay parties women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself he formed the habit of letting liquor alone. And it was from Cody that he inherited money—a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn’t get it. He never understood the legal device that was used against him but what remained of the millions went intact to Ella Kaye. He was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substantiality of a man. He told me all this very much later, but I’ve put it down here with the idea of exploding those first wild rumors about his antecedents, which weren’t even faintly true. Moreover he told it to me at a time of confusion, when I had reached the point of believing everything and nothing about him. So I take advantage of this short halt, while Gatsby, so to speak, caught his breath, to clear this set of misconceptions away. It was a halt, too, in my association with his affairs. For several weeks I didn’t see him or hear his voice on the phone—mostly I was in New York, trotting around with Jordan and trying to ingratiate myself with her senile aunt— but finally I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon. I hadn’t been there two minutes when somebody brought Tom Buchanan in for a drink. I was startled, naturally, but the really surprising thing was that it hadn’t happened before. They were a party of three on horseback—Tom and a man named Sloane and a pretty woman in a brown riding 10 The Great Gatsby

habit who had been there previously. ‘I’m delighted to see you,’ said Gatsby standing on his porch. ‘I’m delighted that you dropped in.’ As though they cared! ‘Sit right down. Have a cigarette or a cigar.’ He walked around the room quickly, ringing bells. ‘I’ll have something to drink for you in just a minute.’ He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there. But he would be uneasy anyhow until he had given them something, realizing in a vague way that that was all they came for. Mr. Sloane wanted nothing. A lemonade? No, thanks. A little champagne? Nothing at all, thanks…. I’m sorry—— ‘Did you have a nice ride?’ ‘Very good roads around here.’ ‘I suppose the automobiles——‘ ‘Yeah.’ Moved by an irresistible impulse, Gatsby turned to Tom who had accepted the introduction as a stranger. ‘I believe we’ve met somewhere before, Mr. Buchanan.’ ‘Oh, yes,’ said Tom, gruffly polite but obviously not remembering. ‘So we did. I remember very well.’ ‘About two weeks ago.’ ‘That’s right. You were with Nick here.’ ‘I know your wife,’ continued Gatsby, almost aggressively. ‘That so?’ Tom turned to me. ‘You live near here, Nick?’ Free eBooks at Planet 10

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